“I’m heading up to take a swim and cool off…” Nate ground out the words at his frazzled looking Girl Friday. A heat wave had hit the city this morning, and the building’s air-conditioning had been out for almost an hour—they’d had assurances it would be fixed soon, but in the meantime, her sweat-soaked tank stuck to her breasts like a second skin.
Look away from the rack, buster.
However tempting, he had to stop obsessing about touching her again, about peeling away the soaked cotton and feasting on those hard, ripe…
He blinked, shaking his head, desperately trying to control the erotic visions that had been assailing him for over a week, ever since he’d felt her rampaging pulse thundering against his thumb a week ago, when he’d made the mistake of touching her.
The only thing putting his lust into perspective was the memory of her earnest expression after he’d forced himself to let her go. He’d seen the puppy-dog sincerity in those mossy-green eyes when she’d told him he needed a family—which had been way more disturbing than the hard shot of arousal, the insistent desire to seduce her and the constant yearning.
Abstinence no longer felt like a necessity to maintain his sanity. But intimacy was another proposition entirely.
No way. Not happening, not ever.
As desirable as Roisin Fitzgerald was, as much as he had begun to obsess about breaking his celibacy rule with her, there was something about her that disturbed him on a visceral level. The sense that she could see way more than he wanted her to see. That she could threaten his hard-fought-for equilibrium on a level that went way beyond physical release.
“Okay, Mr. King,” she said, way too meekly to be believable. “I’ll start working on lunch.”
“Call me Nate, Roisin,” he said, unable to keep the cranky snap out of his tone. “It’s been two weeks now.”
“Yes, Nate,” she said, her skin blushing a vivid pink, which only annoyed him more.
How could she appear so innocent, so transparent, when she was tying his damn libido in knots? It was starting to really bug him, because her honesty, her compassion was just one more thing about her that had started to captivate him. And disturb him.
Alongside her mouthwatering cooking, her phenomenal rack, the undisguised desire in her eyes whenever he entered a room, and the stories he’d become addicted to coaxing out of her about her family in Ireland. Talking about her family made Roisin’s eyes light up, her whole personality blossom in a way he didn’t get but felt weirdly jealous of. He wanted her to look that way when she thought of him.
He paused. Shuddered.
Get a grip, man.
He didn’t want her to care about him; he just wanted to sleep with her.
She was still watching him, waiting, the awareness crackling between them like an electric force field. And suddenly he knew the only way to make this hunger something he could compartmentalize and ignore was to feed it.
To hell with it. Just go for it. You’re making this more of a thing than it is because you haven’t desired anyone in so long.
“You want to join me?” he heard himself saying. “In the pool? You look as if you could do with cooling off too.” It wasn’t the subtlest pickup line. But then it had been over a year since he’d practiced.
“I… Are you sure?” The vivid color on her cheeks intensified, making him smile. Something he’d done more and more of in the past two weeks. She couldn’t possibly be as artless as she appeared—she was twenty years old and she’d been living alone in New York for months—but those insta-blushes had begun to captivate him too.
“I don’t have a swimsuit,” she added.
The insistent pulsing in his groin went ballistic at the vision of her diving into the pool naked—and he had to stifle a groan.
He gave a stiff shrug that probably looked about as nonchalant as he felt—i.e., not at all. “Up to you.”
Her eyes glazed over, the way they had that first morning when she’d devoured the sight of his naked chest—and every day since whenever she got fixated on his face, his body, and she seemed incapable of hiding it.
“Maybe I could wear my underwear,” she whispered, and the husky timbre of her voice reverberated in his crotch. “If you don’t mind.”
“I don’t mind,” he said, trying to control the rush of blood heading south. Was she messing with him now? Trying to ramp up the heat between them? Because it was totally working.
Surely, she had to be. No woman was without wiles or ulterior motives, without a hidden agenda. If she joined him in the lap pool wearing nothing but her bra and panties, she had to know where it was likely to lead.
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